Matthew 9:14-17 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) – 14 Then John’s disciples came to Jesus. They said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often but your disciples never do?” 15 Jesus replied, “Can wedding guests be sad while the groom is still with them? The time will come when the groom will be taken away from them. Then they will fast. 16 “No one patches an old coat with a new piece of cloth that will shrink. When the patch shrinks, it will rip away from the coat, and the tear will become worse. 17 Nor do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins burst, the wine runs out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, people pour new wine into fresh skins, and both are saved.”
As I really listened to the vision of the speaker at this new and fresh church, I realized that I was not wrong to like what was occurring at this church as it was in fact awesome, was well planned and was definitely God blessed, but as it is it is at least one generation removed from the desired outcome. As it is, it is an excellent preparation ground for those that will be sent out to do the truly different church. They like myself feel that God is calling the American Church to change. The new wineskin kind of change.
The obstacle for the church is that it is still noticeably specific to one specific style of Christian culture. It may be a newer version of Christian culture, but it is still an extremely noticeable version of Christian culture. It is in effect not all things to all people. It is one thing that all people must change to or at least learn to be comfortable with.
The current oranges are from the neighbors garden and there has really not been any crops grown in that soil yet. The question is not if crops can grow, the big questions are:
- What is the best way to grow crops in that ground that do not require using the neighbors fruit to call it a harvest
- How will the people doing the farming learn how to farm in that ground if their experience is taking fruit from the neighbors and calling it a harvest
The next generation, the one that this model will be a wonderful training ground for, will still be tasked with the challenge of learning to deculturalize all of the habits and tendencies that will become a part of who they are from being in that environment.
It is quite possible; the big question for them is where will this next generation learn this skill if the environment they learn in is not conducive to it?
The reality is, that the church has only been there two weeks and I have been to both services, yet I am quite sure that nobody could really know how God is going to change that church over the next few weeks, next few months, next few years etc. nor what role that church will play in the bigger picture of transforming that major metropolis. It does seem that God has been pushing me as an individual to look at what He is moving us to as something completely different so I am a bit hypersensitive to things that are the same. The old wineskin verses the new wineskin thing.
The real conflict is not even what this particular church is doing. In fact, as I have stated repeatedly, what they are doing is incredible and is just emanating newness and fresh vision. The real conflict for me is with myself. I know that God is talking to me about this next deculturalized church He wishes to build, but I am still deeply drawn to the more Christianese models that sound like Christians I have been around speak and that does things the way Christians I have been around do things. “This is not being all things to all people” I hear God telling me, but this model still has a powerful pull on me.
Lots of clichés and quotes come to mind:
“Sometimes the good is not good enough to God”,
“The good is often the enemy of the great”,
“What we consider good and what is actually God are not always the same thing and even though good has more letters than God the good is not greater”,
“On the road to greatness there are many good places you could stop, but on the road to greatness the good spots are not the destination; the good is a distraction.”
“Those who settle for the good can never know the great”
It may be that the people of this new and exciting church are suffering from what I am hindered by or it may in fact be just something God is showing me for my next level; to that end I am not clear. What I do know however is that God is showing me the struggles that I have in breaking the old Church culture I have been nurtured into adopting so I can process the struggle and start conversation about that aspect of the change I feel God is making.
My struggle to get rid of my old, favorite wineskin, and accept that God is giving me a brand new one (really He has been giving it to the whole world). The key is that I have to let go of the old one to take hold of the new one.
Part 3 to follow –
- The New Church Members: The Harvest or the Seeds? – Part 2 (seaofgalilee.wordpress.com)
- The New Church Members: The Harvest or the Seeds? – Part 1 (seaofgalilee.wordpress.com)